The National Review Board is going to examine the root causes of the sex abuse scandal. However, they’re not going to be looking at why individual perverts did what they did, but why bishops moved priests around, how it was allowed to happen, and potentially most disturbing, the root causes of the Scandal, including celibacy and sexuality. I say most disturbing because I’m afraid of what they’re going to say. These people are not theologians and thus have no competence to speak toward the Church’s teachings on celibacy and sexuality.
Sure, they could come back and say that celibacy is not the problem and homosexuality is, but when you look at the makeup of the board, you see that what we have a large cadre of liberals—Pamela Hayes, Leon Panetta, William Bennett—and a disciple of Alfred Kinsey (Paul McHugh). That does not lead me to believe that that deference to the Church’s teachings or the magisterium as divinely guided and inspired is going to be high on the list of criteria.
Board members, after concluding a two-day meeting in New York, told reporters yesterday that they are determined to examine all possible causes of the crisis, including the roles of sexuality and celibacy, and the role of the church power structure. And they said they plan to undertake a sweeping epidemiological study focusing on the psychosexual development and behavior of Catholic clergy.
“We have to look at the institution, and at systemic problems,” Bennett said. “What is the role of celibacy? Of homosexuality? We are going to deal with the very tough issues. I’m certain we are not going to get into doctrinal issues, unless they are a cause.”
Note the last phrase: unless they are a cause. That’s the whole point of the study. That’s like talking about fasting on Fridays in Lent and saying you’re not going to eat … unless you’re hungry. Well, that’s the point isn’t it?
I am more sanguine about the other elements of the board’s plans. I’m all for an examination of the pattern of cover-up. As has been said before, less then 3 percent of priests have abused (maybe a lot less), but two-thirds of bishops may have participated in cover-up of that abuse. That’s a big problem and the one most worthy of being addressed. And, yes, I agree that the role of homosexuality in the Scandal is also worth being studied—many people, including myself, have said its role is obvious—but I worry that the people tasked with studying it are not objective.